CDC prepares to launch massive anti-ecig lie campaign

by Carl V Phillips

In a move whose dishonesty, flouting of government ethics, and abuse of the interests of the citizenry are as great as NSA spying or concocting fake casus belli, the CDC has announced that it plans to try to discourage smokers from switching to e-cigarettes. The plan is recounted in this Wall Street Journal article. This effort could easily cause more American deaths than the Iraq war; indeed, if it takes off, it could cause more total deaths.

CDC’s decades of anti-THR lies about smokeless tobacco have played a major role in discouraging smokers from switching throughout the world, and the toll from that is huge. (Ironically, many vapers and e-cigarette supporters still believe those lies. Stockholm syndrome maybe?) That effort caused the early deaths of tens of thousands, if not millions, of people. Now they seem to be ramping up their simmering attacks on e-cigarettes to another full-blown homicidal campaign.

The article also mentions California’s recently launched anti-ecig lie campaign. That has been extensively covered elsewhere, so I will not go into that one, other than to note that these simultaneous disinformation campaigns do not exactly seem like a coincidence. From the WSJ:

Print and radio ads starting Monday target e-cigarette users who continue to smoke traditional cigarettes. They depict an e-cigarette user named Kristy alongside a caption that reads: “I started using e-cigarettes but kept smoking. Right up until my lung collapsed.”

Readers may find that this sounds a bit familiar. In a previous post, I reported on CDC efforts to pay money for stories of smokers who tried e-cigarettes and then got sick. Here is what I wrote about that:

[There is] little doubt about their plan.  They are going to find a handful of people who employed THR but still got diseases that are sometimes caused by smoking.  They are then going to declare that these particular cases of the disease were caused by “tobacco” (though they have no way of knowing whether that is true) and insinuate that they would not have occurred had the smoker just quit by using the smoking cessation products CDC touts rather than pursuing THR (which they have even less basis for claiming).

The details of the recruitment suggest they are focused on disinforming smokers about the benefits of reducing consumption (perhaps they will lie and imply it offers no benefit at all).  But you can be sure that they will try to discourage all THR by implying that the low-risk product was part of the problem, because it contributed to the disease or kept people smoking who otherwise would have quit.  Never mind that there is no evidence that either of these occurs — they are going to insinuate it anyway.

Did I nail that or what?

Did e-cigarettes cause “Kristy’s” disease? Obviously not, but that is not the message that CDC is intentionally implying. Would she have quit smoking if she had not used e-cigarettes? Almost certainly not, but CDC might go so far as to explicitly say that, and undoubtedly will intentionally imply it. Was she better off thanks to partial substitution? Almost certainly, but CDC is going to say otherwise. Was the disease she got even caused by smoking? Any real scientist would tell you that it is impossible to know, but CDC is sadly lacking in such scientists.

CDC’s message is clear: If you smoke, please just keep doing it. Do not try to substitute something because it might not work perfectly. The rest of their message will, of course, be that you should instead try things that basically do not work at all.

Or to put it in their own words (from the WSJ):

The antismoking campaign has been expanded to include e-cigarettes because the majority of users aren’t giving up smoking, said Tim McAfee, senior medical officer at the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Our core message is cutting down is not sufficient,” he added.

And how, exactly, does discouraging substitution — even partial substitution — address that? Obviously it does not. It is safe to say that this “antismoking campaign” will cause far more smoking than it prevents. Indeed, it is not clear how the anti-ecig message could possibly reduce smoking. What model of human behavior could they be working from, that would say “maligning e-cigarettes is a good way to get people to quit smoking”?

The answer is that they have no such model, and that is not their real motivation. CDC does not want to people to quit smoking or cut back if they do it the “wrong” way. I have written extensively about the motives of anti-THR liars. The CDC crowd seems to be partially motivated by the most common reason: they are anti-tobacco extremists who know that use of low-risk products will ruin their dream of a tobacco-free world. But I think they, more than average for the anti-tobacco cabal, are motivated by resentment, the fact that the problem of smoking is being solved in spite of their efforts rather than because of them. They are jealous and desperately defensive, and they are going to kill people because of it.

Their preferred “proven” smoking cessation methods are proven to barely work (if even that). But to give up on them would mean admitting that their careers were complete wastes of taxpayer dollars and that they killed more smokers than they helped. Some delving into this by the reporter would have been nice. At least he did publish the usual “balance” counterpoint:

“The anti-side has been spewing crap like this constantly, but we continue to grow,” said Jason Healy, president and founder of Blu, a large e-cigarette brand owned by Lorillard Inc., maker of Newport smokes. “People know the truth about e-cigarettes,” he added.

Kudos for printing “crap”, though I would have gone with “lies”. A few points off for the inappropriate hyphen. And big points off for this:

Last April, the Food and Drug Administration issued preliminary rules that would prohibit sales to minors and require e-cigarette makers to submit products for approval. It expects to publish a final rule in June. States have proposed more than 60 bills this year aimed at reining in the industry.

Not mentioning that the FDA rules would ban 99.99% of products on the market is inexcusable. And that state bill count is way low. We are tracking well over a hundred of them that are currently in play. Granted that a few of these are aimed exclusively at hurting vapers themselves rather than the industry (i.e., they just prohibit proprietors from allowing vaping in their private venues), but I suspect that the reporter was not making that distinction.

E-cigarettes are widely viewed as far less harmful than traditional cigarettes, which release more than 60 carcinogens through combustion. But many questions remain about the long-term health impact of e-cigarettes, and recent studies found the devices can release the carcinogen formaldehyde.

Not smoking is “widely viewed” as far less harmful than smoking? Go figure. The main “question that remains” is “are these bad for you at all?” Probably, but that is not clear, and obviously that is not what is implied by this statement. And, yes, if you heat organic chemicals up to extreme temperatures you will get formaldehyde. I would like to think that the reporter’s computer got so frustrated with him transcribing these CDC lies without attribution that it got hot enough to produce formaldehyde.

Dr. McAfee at the CDC said that if e-cigarette makers want to promote their products as smoking-cessation tools, they should apply to be classified as nicotine-replacement-therapy devices like patches, gums and lozenges. Such a classification typically requires years of clinical trials. “There are hundreds of manufacturers and not a single one has chosen to go down this pathway,” said Dr. McAfee.

Um, yeah, so? Did you maybe accidentally explain the very good reason for that, Tim, when you pointed out that the process requires tens of millions of dollars in clinical trials to study a product that will be years behind the tech once those are finished?

It is telling that CDC thinks that this observation is somehow relevant to justifying their campaign of lies. It shows that they are inclined to use the dedicated liar’s tactic of throwing around every innuendo they can possibly think of. This is not the behavior of responsible government officials or real scientists. But it also helps nail down that question of motivation: Those evil vapers and the companies that meet their demand will not play the game by our concocted, inappropriate, and counterproductive rules. The punishment for that is death by continued smoking. The tribunal has spoken.

13 responses to “CDC prepares to launch massive anti-ecig lie campaign

  1. I used to believe it was ideology, now I just can’t buy that anymore. It is corruption. The revolving door between a known criminal organization (Pfizer: see and other BP companies and our civil employees. This is truly a tragic fall of what used to be the world’s premier trusted medical authority regarding disease outbreaks and public health.

    • Carl V Phillips

      That is really too facile an answer for people like CDC as well as professors and “health” group executives in the West. You can make a better case for the WHO cabal (a nice job in Geneva is an attractive option for someone up to and including the Minister of Health in India). But someone like McAfee could have cashed out years ago, but gives no indication of being interested in that. He has a comfy job. Blaming corporate corruption is a nice simple story for social media chat, but it is a conceptual dead-end that interferes with a potentially useful understanding of motives.

      CDC still does a pretty good job regarding outbreaks. It is a different department. But their tobacco unit has been under the control of liars for at least a generation. As I note in the post, there is nothing the slightest bit new in their behavior here.

  2. Reblogged this on jredheadgirl and commented:
    “They are jealous and desperately defensive, and they are going to kill people because of it.”

  3. I’ve been holding this back for a long time but in my eyes CDC is preparing to launch a massive LEGAL EXTERMINATION campaign.
    “Dictators will do anything to accomplish their goals. INCLUDING sacrificing the lives of their own people.”

  4. About the “Not working”:

    Quit and Smoking Reduction Rates in Vape Shop Consumers: A Prospective 12-Month Survey

  5. I can agree with you about Tim McAffee, but the syntax of Tom Frieden’s press conferences, interviews, and statements clearly indicate a sharp awareness of EXACTLY what he is doing. The “useful idiots” spout lies because they don’t know the truth. Those consciously acting in bad faith are extremely careful to never utter a single sentence that, taken alone, is provably a lie. “If” “concern”, etc are seen over and over again. And I’m astonished that the real CDC scientists working on outbreaks are not threatening to go on strike for what is being done to their reputation.

    • This is something I’ve also been wondering about, not only those honest scientists at the CDC but honest scientists all over the world. Why are they letting the lunatics in tobacco control trash public health.

      This was said to me today from a person who has recently switched to vaping, after seeing the avalanche of lies coming from public health about vaping, “we know they are lying about vaping, and I’m sure they know they are lying about vaping, and it makes me wonder what else they are lying or have lied about”. This is exactly what I have been thinking. I’ve even had non-smokers tell me the same thing.

      The conclusion I’ve come to is either there just aren’t that many honest scientists working in public health, or they are too fearful to speak out against the liars.

  6. Yeah, I wish it was as simple as financial corruption. This is a far worse problem. They may not be capable of even understanding they’ve been wrong. Fighting “tobacco” is now as much a part of them as the impulse of a mother to protect her child at any cost.

  7. Carl V Phillips

    In response to a couple of very good points that appear in previous comments:

    Yeah, why are the real scientists in areas that are tarnished by anti-THR lies saying something about it. This is a huge question. It is similar to the question (and cause) that I pursued from within the community of expert epidemiologists for many years — to little avail: Most published epidemiology is junk science that uses methods that have long since been shown to be faulty. This results in all epidemiology being considered junk by those who know enough to know that most of it is, but do not know enough to be able to distinguish what really is good. So why is there not some self-policing and pushback against that, to try to salvage our reputation?

    I think there are several reasons for this. Part of the problem is that those who are most competent are not in positions of influence. People who become department chairs and deans (or, outside of academia, unit heads or political appointees) tend to be among the worst scientists in the crowd. So it has to be a popular insurrection within the community which is hard.

    Moreover, because the good scientists are the ones specializing in science rather than politics, they typically just don’t understand how much damage is being done. Many tend to think “I will just keep doing my own good work; that is all that matters.” It is not like it would result in any scorekeeping gains on their CV to work on the political struggle, and many only care about that rather than any big picture.

    That explains why the top people don’t do much. The explanation for why people who are doing basically competent and completely honest work who are being tainted by the junk and lies is simpler: They are not really good enough to know that it is junk and lies. They may have a gut feeling. But public health, and even proper epidemiology, mostly attract mediocre researchers, not great scientific thinkers. So even for those who are vaguely bothered by things, the majority do not have the skills to speak up. When you look at what I write, you could get the illusion that people in the field can see the problems that I point out. But the reality is that very few of them have that capability. Woefully few even understand what I am pointing it out after I explain it, let alone are able to see it for themselves.

    And then part of it is a code of omerta, of refusing to criticize anything that anyone else in the club does. This is obviously a disaster for scientific inquiry, but it works for the “public health” people who are not really interested in science, even if they do not share the anti-tobacco extremism and willingness to be completely dishonest. They get their cushy jobs and are immune from criticism of their weak work, and they do not want to rock the boat. You can go to about any seminar at a public health school or meeting and offer a pointed and cogent criticism of a presentation during the question period — as would be done in a real science — and watch people just freak out. Their business is churning things out, and they actually object if anyone actually pushes for truth-seeking.

    • Thank you Carl, it makes me respect those that do have the courage and character, to speak out, even more. Having worked with the Coroners Dept in my state, I saw exactly what you describe when I questioned the methods used to collect data on “smoking related deaths”. I was told not to question, and just do as I was told. I left the job.

      • Carl V Phillips

        Ok, I’m very curious. Can you tell me more about what you were told to do (either here or in private communication)?

        • natepickering

          I’ve heard the same thing from multiple health care professionals, going back over 20 years. The CDC regularly sends out directives stating that if a person ever smoked (no matter how much or how long ago), and they die of a cause that can be even tangentially linked to tobacco, they must be categorized as a “smoking-related death.” This is where CDC gets its wildly implausible (and demographically impossible) assertion that smoking kills nearly half a million Americans each year. This figure is then parroted by every media outlet in any story about tobacco and smoking, and by sheer repetition it becomes “truth.”

  8. Pingback: Vaping Research | warrior3995

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